Archive for September, 2008

Back to good…

Posted on September 29, 2008. Filed under: back to good |

I’m one of those people that, when things are bad, can’t imagine things ever being good again. Getting “back to good” is always such a relief.

The F and I have been in a really difficult, frustrating, heart-breakingly bad period since the timeline fiasco. Long story short, we’ve been fighting our way back to a trusting, supportive, happy relationship from a nervous, unstable, blaming one.

And we’ve done it! Sunday was a wonderful day. We cleaned out our disgusting basement (1700 square feet of 60’s decor, nasty water from a plumbing problem, and litterbox overflows) in a little over five hours. We got along beautifully! We worked well together! We listened to each other with open minds! We talked! Communicated! Discussed!

What did I learn? I need to be nicer. Not have different opinions or hide my ideas or roll over and show my belly — just be nice. As a not naturally nice person, I’m using a behavioral tactic to help me: I’m calling him “Honey.” My usual affectionate names are so comfortable for me that I can use them in not so affectionate ways. This change reminds me to be nicer to my honey, because after all, he deserves it.

{I’m not letting him off the hook here, btw. He’s working on communicating better and more often, which is just as difficult for him as being nice is for me. The bigger lesson is that waiting for him to change before I even try is a sucker’s strategy, and I’m not a sucker. Er, am trying not to be, anyway.}

Anyone else out there who’s engagement got off to a rocky start? Please tell me I’m not the only one who had to learn to just be nice!

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Wedding dreams… one picture

Posted on September 26, 2008. Filed under: dreaming |

Somewhere along the line I got the impression that if we were limited by time and budget, we (read: I) wouldn’t be able to get caught up in wedding planning. We’d have to prioritize, be practical, and not get carried away. That’s me. Practical. Except when I’m not, of course.

Now that we’re on pause, I have plenty of time to think and no reason to stress, and I’m trying to get back to what I imagined our wedding would be.

I wanted vintage lace, and a classic getaway car, and a bunch of dressed up people hanging out in a super casual setting like our backyard. I wanted a picture of me lounging in a garden chair holding my husband’s hand. He’d be wearing a suit with the tie loosened and I’d be in a glamorous (yet elegant and perfectly appropriate) dress, and our hands would be loosely entwined while we laughed with our friends. There would be martinis. And finger foods. We’d be surrounded by the glow of candlelight, the gentle laughter of our friends and family (ahem, loud hilarity), and the love and support of our people. That picture, the one I just described, would be in black and white, and we’d blow it up and frame it. Our grandchildren would see it and not notice it until they considered the wedding pictures they wanted. They would want one like ours.

What pictures are on your list? Are you specifying quasi-candid shots like this one?

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Great Expectations

Posted on September 26, 2008. Filed under: screw-ups |

I bought this fabulous book on a desperate trip to B&N. One of the first exercises concerns your expectations (versus reality) of getting and being engaged.

I suppose we’re lucky in that we have a do-over, so we’ll see how reality and expectations match the second time around. In retrospect, I expected that the occasion would somehow morph us into something we’re not (although I wish we were) — sentimental.

The lesson here? If you want to be something as a couple, be it now. Don’t expect an occasion to make it happen. If you’re not a spiritual couple, I’m guessing your wedding is unlikely to feel very spiritual, in a comfortable way, anyway. If you’re not a formal couple, a formal wedding might feel… off. I want to be more spiritual, more sentimental, more connected and intimate. Is it possible to morph, as a couple, once you’re together?

{Repeat-Bride-specific note: I wasn’t proposed to the first time around. We decided together that it made sense to get married, then took my mom out to lunch to let her know. I think I sent my dad a fax. *cringe* I didn’t do much better this time. I blurted out that we’d be getting married in the fall in a hospital waiting room. Brilliant.}

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The journey… so far

Posted on September 20, 2008. Filed under: history |

Gosh, where to begin. On most wedding blogs, brides start with how they met their fiance. However, in my case (and some decent percentage of brides, if the statistics are to be believed), the journey started long before this man-to-whom-I’m-committing. I feel a bit disloyal starting before our beginning, to be honest.

I’ve been married before. I have been done this planning-a-wedding thing before and the wedded bliss did not last. Suffice it to say that some things were good, some things were bad, and it’s hard for me to set aside the worry and just be happy.

I married my first husband* in 2000 and we separated in 2005. We divorced in 2007 after living in separate cities for two years. We had as good a divorce as two people who loved each other can. I still think he’s great. He’s still proud of me.

After ending the destined-to-doom subsequent rebound relationship, I met my fiance in June of last year. In. A. Bar. Seriously. We were engaged to be married on July 31 of this year. That’s my beautiful engagement ring! (I fast forwarded past dating to dating exclusively to my practically living at his house to talking about living together to accidentally buying a house to living together and getting a puppy, didn’t I? We’ll get to that, I promise.)

I love him. I adore him. I want my children to be just like him. This is the first man with whom I could even imagine having children, and once I imagined it, I could not get that dream out of my mind. I want to build a life with this man. I am building a life with this man. That’s the rainbows and butterflies part. He’s handsome and kind, loving, caring, hard-working, a big ol’ softie for puppies and kittens and babies. He loves me well, and I learn from him every day.

Now, for reality. We struggle to communicate. We are more different than any of my boyfriends (and, ahem, that-guy-I-was-married-to) ever were, so I can’t take anything for granted or assume it’s understood. Also, this commitment thing freaks me out. He’s lived his whole life in the city where we reside. I changed cities every two years and apartments even more often. A year and a few months isn’t long enough to know everything about each other.

I worry and I obsess and I second guess, but deep down in my heart and gut, I know I’m in the right place with the right man. He is my fiance and I can’t wait until he’s my husband.

*I knew that I was doing the right thing, would be okay with this commitment to this man, when I started thinking of my ex-husband as my first husband.

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Posted on September 1, 2008. Filed under: reality |

It’s been a (tough) month since we got engaged. Really tough. I thought we’d be in a happy love bubble, but alas, that was not to be, not for us, not for me. The worst of it let up last weekend, our third stormy weekend, when we suddenly understood each other for the first time (more on this in a later post). Since that day, we’ve been slowly returning to our normal happy state, and it’s a relief.

I found a great book for the newly engaged struggling with not-so-bubbly feelings:

In desperation, I hit the local bookstore and pulled every wedding planning book off the shelf. Okay, not every book — I ignored anything that said anything about “perfect,” “best day of your life,” “elegant,” or “The Knot.” I love matching details as much as anyone, but I’m beyond (or not there yet) worrying about details. I need some help figuring out why it’s not all butterflies and rainbows.

I know that it’s not socially accepted to admit that being engaged is scary and stressful. I know that talking about worrying that you are with someone forever (even when said man is kind and wonderful and you want your kids to be like him) isn’t the proper thing to do. I know that it feels disloyal saying the words, “it’s not what I expected.” Well, here I am… and I know I’m not alone (if only because I found a book that says so).

If you’re reading this and you relate, please leave a comment. If you’re reading this and you don’t relate, then please share your secrets! I love him, and I’m happier than I’ve ever been, but whoa — forever. Scary.

Has anyone else read (and enjoyed) this book? Have you felt, like me, a little lost and a little overwhelmed?

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    About

    I’ve been there, done that, got the t-shirt (and divorce papers) to prove it. Here I am again, pledging my life to my (new) love with eyes wide open (and heart racing) knowing full well how emotionally traumatic this can end… and doing it anyway.

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